AccountPlus is an Open Source application for shared expense management. Users are free to modify the source code as well functionality as per their need. Even individual components of account plus may also be used feely.

1. AccountPlus Overview

1.1  Introduction

AccountPlus is developed using Microsoft.NET technology. It uses C# as a code language. AccountPlus is specially designed and shared for the beginners and intermediate level programmers to understand, design and implement the entire SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). Also it may be helpful to understand.

  • Implementation of Data Access Layer which supports multiple databases
  • Global Logging/ Tracing using logNet
  • Better use of .NET winform controls
  • Globalization and localization
  • Componentization of any application.
  • Use of XML
  • Design Pattern (Used in Data Access Layer)
Functional Overview

AccountPlus is an application which can be used for shared account/expense management with proper reporting and general analytics.
In order to justify the significance of AccountPlus, we should compare the traditional account management system (paper based account management) with the features of AccountPlus.

Paper Based Account Management:

Many times, it happens that multiple people share their daily expenditures. To maintain all these accounts, usually we use paper to keep track of all the individual expenses.

Drawbacks of Paper Based Account Management System
  • At the end of the month, it involves a tedious calculation to find out who had expensed what, and how much amount someone is either supposed to pay or got from others.
  • Another major drawback of paper based account management system is that we won't be able to analyze on which item our expense is increasing so that we can control the same.
  • Paper based Account Management system has some security flaws like someone can very easily alter the expenses entered by others.
    Like this, there are many disadvantages of paper based account management. But with the help of AccountPlus, at every instant we are capable of analyzing the expenses and doing the proper kind of analysis to have a better control on expenditure with full security.
1.2  User Roles and their Rights

AccountPlus has two user roles,

Admin : Admin is the super user for the application who is mainly responsible for
  • Creating/ modifying the user details to access the system.
  • Finalizing the expenses.
General User: General user is the user who accesses the system very frequently. General users are responsible for,
  • Add/ Update/ Delete the expenses. (User can't edit or delete expense of other users)
  •  Generating and analyzing the expenses.
2. AccountPlus Design Overview

AccountPlus application is mainly divided into three layers
  1. User Interface Layer

    User interface layer of account plus contains all the forms and base class to provide style to the user interface. User interface of the application interacts with Business Layer and very rarely with Data Access Layer to fulfill the request or business action made by the user. Also this layer interacts with Messaging component of the AccountPlus very frequently for displaying the messages to the user interface.
  2. Business Layer

    Business Layer is the core part of the application. This component contains all the business logics being used by the application. This component interacts very frequently with the Data Access Layer for writing and reading the data to or from the AccountPlus database.
  3. Data Access Layer

    Data Access Layer is one among the most important components of the application. This is an independent component. This layer enables the application to interact with the AccountPlus data base in an efficient manner. Data Access Layer is independent of database i.e. it may support all kind of databases e.g. MS Access, Excel, SQL Server, MySql, Oracle and etc. This component may be as it is used for any other application also.
Note: Present data access layer component does not support explicit transaction management. It's under progress.

Also it has three more small components for Messaging, Configuration and Formatting. Following are the details of these components


This component is used to make application scalable in terms of achieving Globalization and Localization. Current version mainly uses this component as a message repository. This helps the application in managing the various application from a single place. This holds application into a resource file.


This component is used to for reading the application level configuration i.e. the configuration details stored into App.config file.


This component is responsible for formatting various data types being used by the application.

3. AccountPlus Block Diagram

Following is the block representation of various components of AccountPlus

  • Logger class of the AccountPlus Business Layer enables the application to do global error/ exception logging and events tracing.
  • DataSecurity class of the Business Layer helps the application for encryption and decryption of sensitive data  
4. Design & Source Code Details

As it's a complete application hence it's little difficult to explain each and every component, so I would be mainly explaining the re usable components.

4.1 How to View/ Debug the source code?

Follow the steps below to view / debug AccountPlus source code
  • From the downloaded files search for file and Unzip the same.
  • Find for AccountPlus.sln file and double click to open the same.
  • Make sure all the references are present.
  • Copy the AccountPlus.mdb file to appropriate location say X:\AccountPlusDatabase\AccountPlus.mdb where X is your local drive. Modify the ConnectionStrings section of app.config file for the key MSAccessCon with the path of your AccountPlus.mdb file

  • <
    add name="MSAccessCon" connectionString="Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=X:\ AccountPlusDatabase\AccountPlus.mdb;Jet OLEDB:Database Password=admin;" providerName="MSACCESS" />
  • For more details about database configuration refer the point 6.
  • For Logging/ Tracing AccountPlus uses log4net. If reference to log4net is missing into AccountPlus.BusinessLogic component refer from the Assemblies directory of AccountPlusSource directory.
  • AccountPlus.DataAccess component uses MySql.Data library for connection with MySql database. MySql.Data library is a part of MySql Connector for .NET. If referenced the MySql.Data library is missing you may download the same from the following URL
4.2   Exception Handling

Exception handling is one of the important aspects while developing any software/ application. AccountPlus displays the exception occurred to the user in a screen also it logs the exception to the log file with the help of log4Net.

Following is the screen which displays any unhandled exception encountered by the application. This screen is brought from one place only i.e. one place exception handling.


Above exception handling logic is implemented to the Program class of AccountPlus.UserInterface. Program is the class which is generated automatically by the visual studio. Program class contains the Main() method which is the entry point to the application.

In order to implement above kind of exception handling follow the steps
  1. Add ThreadExceptionEventHandler to monitor all the thread exception occurred into the application

    .ThreadException += new System.Threading.ThreadExceptionEventHandler(Application_ThreadException);
  2. Implement Application_ThreadException method which will include the logic to log the error and bring the error screen. (Refer actual implementation from the Program.cs class)
4.3 Logging exceptions with the help of log4net

AccountPlus uses Open Source library log4Net for logging the exceptions or errors to the log file. Logger.cs class of AccountPlus.BusinessLogic is implements necessary methods to log the informations to the log file.

Follow the steps below to log the exceptions
  1. Add a new section, log4net to the configSections of app.config file

    section name="log4net" type="log4net.Config.Log4NetConfigurationSectionHandler, log4net" />
  2. Add the configuration details for log4net

    log4net debug="true">
    appender name="RollingLogFileAppender" type="log4net.Appender.RollingFileAppender">
    appendToFile value="true" />
    rollingStyle value="Size" />
    maxSizeRollBackups value="10" />
    maximumFileSize value="2MB" />
    staticLogFileName value="true" />
    layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout">
    conversionPattern value="%nDate:%d System User:%W%nClass Name:%C Method Name:%l Line Number:%L%nDev Message:%m%n%n" />
    level value="INFO" />
    appender-ref ref="RollingLogFileAppender" />

  3. By implementing the above points (a & b) we would be now able to implement Logging with the help of log4net library.
    • AccountPlus has flexibility to Log the exceptions into a separate file for each date or log all the exceptions into a single file. This feature is controlled with the help of app.config file's appSettings section's key 'dateWiseLogTrace'
      Example: <add key="dateWiseLogTrace" value="true" />
      value="true" means logging into separate file for each date e.g. 07-JUL-2009.txt
      value="false" means logging into a single file i.e. (Log.txt or Trace.txt)
    • WriteLog method of Logger.cs class writes the exceptions into log file. This method follows following steps to log the exceptions into log files

      1. Reads app.config file's key 'logging' to check whether exceptions needs to be logged or not.
      2. Gets appropriate file name (One file for each date or single file) e.g. 07-JUL-2007.txt or Log.txt
      3. Create a file appender for the file to which log needs to be written.
      4. Create instance of logger
        log = LogManager.GetLogger(APPENDER_NAME);
      5. Write to the log file.
Note: For detailed implementation details please refer Logger.cs class of AccountPlus.BusinessLogic component.

4.4 Globalization & Localization

In fact AccountPlus does not implement the Globalization and Localization concept truly sense, but Globalization/ Localization concept is implemented into the AccountPlus.Messaging component of the application. This component includes a resource file MessageResource.resx, this file contains all the messages which are displayed to the user interface. Managing messages like this gives flexibility to do changes into text from one place without altering user interface or business logic. Currently any culture is not set for the application, but in future very easily we can include culture specific messages.

Please refer the points below to know how messages are stored or retrieved to or from the resource file
  1. Messages are stored into resource file with a unique key value for each message.
  2. MessageManager class of the messaging component includes all the logic to read the messages from resource file. GetMessage, DisplayMessage and its various overloads are responsible for fething and formatting the messages.

    public static string GetMessage(string< mbool includeNo)


    string message = string.Empty;

    message = ResourceManager.GetString("MSG" + messageNo, Culture);

    message = includeNo ? "[" + messageNo + "] " + message : message;

    return message;


Note: For detailed implementation details please refer MessageManager.cs class of AccountPlus.Messaging component.
4.5 Data Security

AccountPlus stores all credentials into database by encrypting the data into certain format. DataSecurity class of the AccountPlus.BusinessLogic component is responsible for encryption/ decryption of the data.

DataSecurity class exposes two public methods Encrypt and Decrypt to encrypt or decrypt the strings

static byte[] bytes = ASCIIEncoding.ASCII.GetBytes("AccountPlus");

/// <summary>
Encrypt normal string.
/// </summary>
<param name="originalString">String to be encrypted.</param>
string originalString)
if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(originalString))
return string.Empty;

cryptoProvider = new DESCryptoServiceProvider();
MemoryStream memoryStream = new MemoryStream();
CryptoStream cryptoStream = new CryptoStream(memoryStream,
cryptoProvider.CreateEncryptor(bytes, bytes), CryptoStreamMode.Write);
StreamWriter writer = new StreamWriter(cryptoStream);
return Convert.ToBase64String(memoryStream.GetBuffer(), 0, (int)memoryStream.Length);

/// <summary>
Decrypt encrypted string to the normal string
/// </summary>
<param name="cryptedString">Decrypted string</param>
<returns>Normal (Decrypted) string</returns>
public string Decrypt(string cryptedString)
if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(cryptedString))
throw new ArgumentNullException
("The string which needs to be decrypted can not be null.");
DESCryptoServiceProvider cryptoProvider = new DESCryptoServiceProvider();
MemoryStream memoryStream = new MemoryStream|
CryptoStream cryptoStream = new CryptoStream(memoryStream,
cryptoProvider.CreateDecryptor(bytes, bytes), CryptoStreamMode.Read);
StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(cryptoStream);
return reader.ReadToEnd();

4.6 XML Manipulation

AccountPlus stores some of the user preferences to XML file i.e. Preferences.xml which use to be present into the root directory of the application. Preferences class of the AccountPlus.BusinessLogic component is responsible for reading or writing the user preferences data. This class (Preferences.cs) internally uses XmlHelper class which takes care of getting or setting the data into Preferences.xml file.

Following is the schema for the schema for the Preferences.xml


XmlHelper class mainly exposes two methods to get or set the data for any specific user preference.

class XMLHelper
private XmlDocument xmlDocument = null;
public XMLHelper()
xmlDocument = GetXMLDoc();

/// <summary>
Reads the value of passed node name
/// </summary>
<param name="itemName">Node name for which vale needs to be read</param>
<returns>Value of the node</returns>
public string GetValue(string itemName)
string value = string.Empty;
XmlNodeList nodes = xmlDocument.DocumentElement.ChildNodes;

foreach (XmlNode node in nodes)
if (node.Attributes["name"].Value.Trim().ToLower() == itemName.Trim().ToLower())
value = node.Attributes["value"].Value.Trim();

return value;

/// <summary>
Saves the value for the passed xml node into Preference.xml file
/// </summary>
<param name="itemName">XML Node name</param>
<param name="value">value to be saved</param>
public void SetValue(string itemName, string value)
XmlNodeList nodes = xmlDocument.DocumentElement.ChildNodes;
foreach (XmlNode node in nodes)
if (node.Attributes["name"].Value.Trim().ToLower() == itemName.Trim().ToLower())
node.Attributes["value"].Value = value.Trim();

/// <summary>
Saves the modifications done into the XML Document.
/// </summary>
public void Save()
xmlDocument = GetXMLDoc();

/// <summary>
Loads XML document for reading or writing purpose.
/// </summary>
public XmlDocument GetXMLDoc()
XmlDocument xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();
catch (Exception ex)
throw ex;

return xmlDoc;

/// <summary>
Gets the User Preference file name.
/// </summary>
private string FileName
get { return Application.StartupPath + "file://Preferences.xml/"; }

4.7 Data Access

Data Access Layer i.e. AccountPlus.DataAccess component of the AccountPlus may be most preferred reusable component. Without any modification this component may be used for reading or writing the data to any data base (Tested for MS Access, SQL Server and MySQL). Current version of Data Access Layer does not support transactions, it would be implemented soon.

Following are the various class files contained by Data Access Layer


How multiple databases are supported by AccountPlus Data Access Layer?

Support to multiple database is achieved with the help of various interfaces IDbConnection, IDbCommand, IDataParameter, IDataAdapter and etc exposed by System.Data library of .NET Framework.

We will see implementation of ExecuteScalar method of Data Access Layer to understand how it works

/// <summary>
Executes the Sql Command or Stored Procedure and returns result.
/// </summary>
<param name="commandText">Sql Command or Stored Procedure name</param>
<param name="commandType">Type of command (i.e. Sql Command/ Stored Procedure name/ Table Direct)</param>
<returns>A single value. (First row's first cell value, if more than one row and column is returned.)</returns>

public object ExecuteScalar(string commandText, CommandType commandType)
object objScalar = null;
IDbConnection connection = _connectionManager.GetConnection();
IDbCommand command = _commandBuilder.GetCommand(commandText, connection, commandType);

objScalar = command.ExecuteScalar();
catch (Exception ex)
throw ex;
if (connection != null)

(command != null)
return objScalar;

Look at the following code line being used in ExecuteScalar method for getting a Database connection

IDbConnection connection = _connectionManager.GetConnection();
Here we use GetConnection method of the ConnectionManager class to get an open connection to the database.
/// <summary>
/// Establish Connection to the database and Return an open connection.
/// </summary>
<returns>Open connection to the database</returns>
internal IDbConnection GetConnection()
IDbConnection connection = null;
string connectionString = Configuration.ConnectionString;
switch (Configuration.DBProvider.Trim().ToUpper())
connection = new SqlConnection(connectionString);
connection = new MySqlConnection(connectionString);
connection = new OracleConnection(connectionString);
connection = new OleDbConnection(connectionString);
connection = new OdbcConnection(connectionString);
case Common.OLE_DB_PROVIDER:
connection = new OleDbConnection(connectionString);

catch (Exception err)
throw err;

return connection;


  • Configuration.ConnectionString property returns connection string present into app.config file.
  • Configuration.DBProvider property returns Database Provider i.e. "SQLSERVER", "MSACCESS","MYSQL","OLEDB" or "ODBC" from app.config file for the connection string being used.
  • Common.EXCESS_DB_PROVIDER are nothing but the constant strings for each database present into Common class of the Data Access Layer.
  • In similar way GetCommand method also is implemented
    IDbCommand command = _commandBuilder.GetCommand(commandText, connection, commandType)
How to execute any Command?

DBHelper is the class which is mostly being instantiated by other components of application for reading or writing the data.

DBHelper class implements following methods with their various overloads to access the database.


Following is the example of reading scalar value from the database.

private DBHelper _dbHelper = new DBHelper();
object objTemp = _dbHelper.ExecuteScalar("SELECT COUNT(*) FROM User_Info;");

Note: Present data access layer component does not support explicit transaction management. It's under progress.

5.    AccountPlus Installation

5.1  AccountPlus Pre-Requisites

To run Account Plus, the target machine should have,
5.2  Installation
  • Download AccountPlus2.0.
  • Unzip the directory AccountPlus2.0.
  • Find for the directory Setup
  • Double click to run AccountPlus setup. Keep on clicking next.
Note: Do remember to enter appropriate currency in Step 4, i.e. Rs. Or $ or anything so that your expenses are represented into the same currency. By default installer configures MS Access database, however it may be customized for any database.


6. How to Change AccountPlus Database

AccountPlus may work with any of the database for example MS Access, MySql, SQL Server and Oracle. By default installer configures MS Access database for the application however it may be changed to any database. Downloaded package contains the db scripts for MySQL and SQL Server Database.

Follow the steps below to change the database.
  1. Prepare the MySQL or SQL Server database by running the scripts present into the database directory of the downloaded files.
  2. Go to the installation directory of AccountPlus. (Usually is C:\Program Files\AccountPlus)
  3. Find and open the 'AccountPlus.UI.exe.config' file in any suitable editor.
  4. Locate 'connectionStrings' section. There you may get the connection strings for MySQL and SQL Server with the name mySqlCon and sqlServerCon respectively. Modify the connection string attribute with suitable values i.e. Appropriate Database name, User Id, Password, Server and Port etc.
  5. Locate 'appSettings' setion in the 'AccountPlus.UI.exe.config' file. Modify the value of 'defaultConnection' with the name of the connection String modified by you in the previous step.
Note: Make sure that while changing/ adding new connection string you are using correct providerName. E.g.

Database Provider name
MS Access providerName="MSACCESS"
MySQL providerName="MYSQL"
Oracle providerName="ORACLE"
SQL Server providerName="SQLSERVER"
OLEDB providerName="OLEDB"
ODBC providerName="ODBC"

7. Working with AccountPlus

1. Login

Provide the User name and password and click on 'Login' button to login into the application.

If you are selecting 'Remember me' then for next time application will automatically populate Username and Password.


Logon Information

Click on info button to know the last log on information.


2. User Management

User management i.e. adding new users and modifying user details right is reserved for the admin user role only.

2.1 Creating new user

Login to the application as an admin user role,
  1. Press 'ALT+U' or Go to File Add  User

  2. A new window would appear. Select the desired user role and enter the user details. Click on 'Add' button to create user.

2.2 Searching any user

Press 'ALT+U' or go to File àAddàUser. Into the window opened enter any of the details and click on search button.

Note: All the fields are not mandatory you may enter any of the details to search.

2.3 Editing user information

'ALT+U' or go to File Add User. Select the user from the grid whose information you want to edit. Selection of any row containing user information will make the user details available to the upper area where details may be changed. Click on 'Update' button to save the changes.


2.4 De activating user

'ALT+U' or go to File Add User. Select the user from the grid want to deactivate. Selection of any row containing user information will make the user details available to the upper area. Uncheck the 'Active' check box and click on 'Update' button to save the changes.

2.5 Activating user

'ALT+U' or go to File Add User. Select the user from the grid want to activate. Check the 'Active' check box and click on 'Update' button to save the changes.
3. Item Management

Item management i.e. adding new item and modifying item details right is given to all the user roles.

3.1 Creating new Item
  1. Press 'ALT+I' or Go to File  Add  Item

  2. A new window would appear. Enter the item details. Click on 'Add' button to create new item.


3.2 Searching an item

Press 'ALT+I' or go to File Add Item. Into the window opened enter any of the details and click on search button.

Note: All the fields are not mandatory you may enter any of the details to search.

3.3 Editing item details

'ALT+U' or go to File Add User. Select the user from the grid whose information you want to edit. Selection of any row containing user information will make the user details available to the upper area where details may be changed. Click on 'Update' button to save the changes.


4. Expense Management

Only general users can add, update or delete the expenses. Admin can't enter any expense. Users can edit or delete only their own expenses not other user's expenses but can view all the users expense.

4.1 Adding new expense

Select the item against which you want to enter the expense. Selection of item will automatically populate the expense description where as user can change the same. Enter other information like amount and date. Click on the 'Add' button to save the changes.


Once item is added successfully, newly added expense details would appear into the expense details grid shown right side of the screen.

Note: Expense date can't be greater than today's date.

4.2 Editing expense details

Select the particular expense from the grid needs to be edited. Selection of any row containing expense details will make the e details available to the left side of the screen where details may be edited. Click on 'Update' button to save the changes.


4.3 Deleting expense

Select the particular expense from the grid needs to be deleted. Selection of any row containing expense details will make the details available to the left side of the screen where details may be edited or deleted. Click on 'Delete' button to delete the expense.


5. Reports

Reporting is the most exciting part of AccountPlus. AccountPlus has mainly three reports:
  • Expense Report
  • Monthly Report
  • Analytic Report


5.1 Expense Report

Press F4 or click on the button present on tool bar to open expense report.

Once item is added successfully, newly added expense details would appear into the expense details grid shown right side of the screen.


Expense Report gives us the information about the
  • Total expense in the tenor.
  • Number of persons sharing the expense.
  • How much is the expense for each one. (Individual Contribution)
Based on these three pieces of information, AccountPlus calculates "How much each user has paid, and how much each participant is either supposed to pay to others participants or supposed to get from other participants".

5.2 Monthly Report

Press F5 or click on the button present on tool bar to open monthly report.

Select the Month, Year for which report needs to be generated and click on 'Generate' button. Apart from the expense details this report will give the information about some other important things like Finalization Date, Total Expense and Days etc.


5.3 Analytic Report

Press F6 or click on the button present on tool bar to open analytic report.

Select the Month, Year for which report needs to be generated and click on 'Generate' button.


Same as Monthly report, Analytic Report also has two views Individual and Monthly.

Whenever we are generating the Analytic Report for a particular Month and Year, the Analytic Engine of AccountPlus checks whether expense data exists for the previous and next month data for the selected month and year. If data exists, Analytic Report will give the trend on a particular item or user about whether the expense has increased or decreased from the previous or next month.


Suppose you have selected Dec, 2007 to generate the analytic report. Now, the Analytic Engine of AccountPlus will check whether the data exists for Nov, 2007 and Jan, 2008. If the data exists, then Analytic Report will compare the expense on each item or expense by users based on the view selected (Individual or Item wise). If data for previous month does not exist then Analytic Report will compare only the selected month and the next month.

6. Finalizing expense

Only admin user role has got the rights to finalize the expenses.

In order to understand the Finalization process, we will take the example of paper based account management system. In paper based account management system, at the end of the month, all the expenses occurred needs to be summed up, to calculate the total expense for the month. Then divide the total expense by number of persons supposed to share the expense. Like this, individual contribution is calculated. Now all the members will either receive an amount by another member or pay the amount to other members based on individual contribution and amount paid by each participant.

Once this process is completed, expense sheet needs to be tear up or to be cross marked.

Finalizing the expense in AccountPlus is the same process where admin makes sure that all the users have cleared their dues i.e. each participant have received or paid their dues. After finalizing the expense, current expense details would not be displayed on the home page but the data will remain in the database for analysis and reporting purposes.

How to finalize the expense?

Login as admin.
  • Press F4 to generate the expense report.
  • Click on Finalize button.


Expense report provides information about total expense and the dues for the particular tenor. Pay/Get is very important information in order to clear the dues, this information gives the information among the users about who is supposed to pay and who is supposed to get.

7. Edit user profile

Press 'Alt+P' or go to Edit Profile to bring the screen where user profile can be edited.


How to change password?

Check the check box 'Change Password'. Enter old password, password and confirm passwords field s and click on 'Submit' button to save the details.
8. Database information


Press 'Alt+Shift+S' or go to Tools Database to open the database information window.


  • Only admin user role has got rights to back up the database.
  • Current version supports backup operation for MS Access database only.
9. System diagnostics

Press 'Alt+Shift+D' or go to Tools  Diagnostics to open the diagnostics information window where application logs and trace can be viewed.


Select the Log or Trace radio buttons to view Log or Trace files. Double click to open the file.
Export button may be used to export the Log/ Trace files.
10. Version information

Press F2 or go to Help About to open the about dialog box.


11. Report a bug or contact author

Press F3 or go to Help  Contact Admin to open window which helps the user to post their feed back or comments to the author.

  • Select appropriate option e.g. Report Bug, Feature request etc.
  • Enter the message into the message text area.
  • Click 'Send using Outlook' to post the message to admin using Microsoft Outlook. 

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